Cover Art Sneak Peek

March 15, 2016

The cover art for my upcoming adventure novel has sat, mere brush strokes away from completion, for the majority of my writing process. It’s been displayed as my wallpaper, inspiring my prose as I’ve gone along, and now, at last, I’ve decided to share just one aspect of it with the world. A sneak peek, if you will, of my cover reveal to come.

Merona2

This image of my heroine, Merona Grant, has sat to the side of my writing sessions for some time, and what still surprises me about it, is the way it continues to reveal new aspects of her character each time I look at it. It no longer feels like a mere representation of her for me, but rather, a direct insight into her character, and her spirit.

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The Widow’s Son, book cover

Here we have my most recent book cover work, for author R.A. Williamson’s new weird west tail, Zarahemla Two Crows, The Widow’s Son.

You can read my article of what it took to make this cover below.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with author Scott D. Southard on creating a cover for his new mystery/thriller Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare and I wanted to post the cover design and share a little about my process in creating it.

Honestly, I’m not terribly good at recalling how I create my art. It tends to sort of pop into my head and I rush to get it down on paper before some new idea crowds it out. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain that way, but here goes.

After emailing back and forth a little with Scott, I was sent a short excerpt of a scene he thought would work as a setting for the cover. The writing was so vivid and the descriptions so striking that an image came immediately to my mind of his cast of characters gazing up towards McGregor castle as one of its many fearsome gargoyles loomed into frame overhead. I had several other concepts for the cover, but this one seemed to affix itself in my mind the strongest, so I went with it.

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, rough cover

Originally I had intended to just whip up something quick. Something that would give him an idea of what I was thinking, so I would know if we were on the same page for the cover design, but the details in my head were so exact, that it didn’t seem to do justice to the idea to leave out all that richness.

Honestly, it was all I could do to restrain myself from very nearly finishing the whole thing! However, I didn’t even know if it was at all what he wanted for his book, so I focused my energy on the details that seemed to count the most. First I worked on the characters, the expressions on their faces and the design of their clothes. I wanted to capture them as best I could, so if I had got something wrong it would be instantly apparent and could be changed before the final cover was completed.

Next, I wanted to focus on the surrounding mood. The strong shadows, the mist creeping in around their feet, the harsh faces of the gargoyles as they almost seem to watch the group pass them by, and the dead and scraggly branches of the tree overhead, to add darkness to the background and help the title stand out. The cover quickly took shape, and was soon sent off for approval. Fortunately my efforts paid off and Scott loved it.

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, Cover

Once I started working on the final details for the approved cover, the characters were mostly ready and only really required some cleaning up, finalizing of shading, and the addition of highlights. Even though the characters will be smallish on the cover, I still took the time to try and capture certain types of materials for the different fabrics of their clothing by slight variations in shading. An example can be seen in the pictures below of the rough fabrics of Mr. Blackberry’s coat and hat, in contrast with the silken shine of Anna’s green dress.

Fabric

The backdrop was probably adjusted the most, slightly enlarging the gargoyle behind them to tower overhead a little more ominously, and changing the curve of the stairs to allow the distant gargoyle to become more visible. The tree overhead was completely reimagined to give it a much more complex, almost tangled web-like appearance.

distant gargoyle

The gargoyle in the foreground remained very similar in structure to the original, but his shading and highlights were almost completely redone, to capture the texture of the rough stone he was hewn from. I must admit, I somewhat relished covering him with cracks, chips and scratches to really give the impression of stone weathered over the years.

If you want to read about the author’s perspective in this process, Scott Southard has written some very good posts that can be found here, here, and here. And if you would like to know more about his book, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, you can find a short description here.

The Musician Cover

March 5, 2013

The Musician

This is the cover art for Kerri Bennett Williamson’s 8th novel, which is available in paperback and on kindle at Amazon.

I chose to keep the cover entirely black and white, not only to represent the black and white keys on a piano (which is captured in the Tudor style of the house) but also because parts of the story can be somewhat melancholy.

The most enjoyable parts for me were working on her hair, and the tree just behind her, as I always enjoy the freedom that comes with drawing organic things.

Heroes

Here is the book cover art that I did for “Heroes of the Fallen” a novel by David J. West, which it available in hardcover and on kindle at Amazon.

Silhouettes are easier in a way than full color art, but can be much more restricting, as they have to be done just right to pack any sort of a visual punch.

Mrs. Rutherford Cover

February 15, 2011

Mrs. Rutherford is Kerri Bennett Williamson’s 2nd novel, and, incidentally my second cover as well. There has always been something about this one that seems to grab people’s eye. I have had numerous comments on it, and requests for it in print form. I’ve always liked the colors; and I think it gets noticed because of the simplicity of the use of mainly shades of blue and yellow.

Misfortune Cookies

November 22, 2010

Seeing as Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought I would post this little book I happened to do the cover for; which contains numerous examples of things you should be thankful are not happening to you. But if anything in this book has happened, is happening, or most likely will happen to you, then you have my sincerest sympathies.

If you wish to glimpse a sample of the horrors contained within, then visit Amazon.com or Anna Williamson

Prattleton Gossips

September 27, 2010

I thought I’d post a close up of the background gossips on the Prattleton cover to show some of their details.

These ladies were pretty much free hand, though I did look at some clothing of the day in reference for what they were wearing. I usually like a reference picture for my art, but when I can’t find something close to what I have in my head I just wing it, which is what this ended up being. It worked out, as they were supposed to be kind of cartoonish anyway.

Miss Houston face

September 6, 2010

Thought I might post a close up on Miss Houston’s face, so you could see some of the details that you might not be able to make out on the full cover.

Miss Houston

August 16, 2010

This book cover, for Kerri Bennett Williamson’s 7th novel, was a combined effort. My sister, Anna Williamson, did the background and I did Miss Houston herself and the layout.

For more information, visit:

Amazon USA

Kerri Bennett Williamson

Anna Williamson